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The effect of workplace diversity Workplace
management in a highly diversity
Hye Kyoung Kim
Occupational Education Studies, Oklahoma State University,
Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA Received 26 June 2014
Revised 10 December 2014
Ung Hee Lee
18 March 2015
Cluster Operation Team, Korea Industrial Complex Corp., Accepted 25 March 2015
Gumi, South Korea, and
Young Hyung Kim
Department of IT Convergence, Kumoh National Institute of Technology,
Gumi, South Korea
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to, first, examine gender differences in response to the
presence of diversity management and in the level of organizational commitment, second, to
investigate the influence of diversity management practices on organizational commitment, and third,
to examine the relationships among gender, diversity management, organizational commitment, and
job performance in a more highly male-dominated culture.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on a review of the literature, this empirical study uses a
survey and statistical analysis, including t-tests and regressions, to test the hypotheses.
Findings – The major findings are as follows: first, female workers reported a more favorable
perception of diversity management practices than did male workers. However, there was no difference
between female and male workers in organizational commitment. Second, diversity management was
positively and significantly related to organizational commitment. Finally, the results show that gender
was not related to in-role performance, while diversity management and organizational commitment
were positively related to in-role performance.
Originality/value – The significance of this study lies in its investigation of the effect of diversity
management on employees’ attitude and behavior and the gender differences in the perception of
diversity management and organizational commitment in a highly male-dominated society. In addition,
since Korean companies have become more performance oriented (House et al., 2004), finding the
positive relationship between diversity management practices and job performance can also suggest one
way for all organizations to increase their employees’ task performance for their continuous development.
Keywords Performance, Organizational commitment, Diversity management,
Paper type Research paper
Interest in diversity management has increased in both academics and practice as
a strategy to improve organizational competitiveness by creating an inclusive
organizational environment that values employees’ differences and accepts people as
they are. With this increased interest, research has indicated that effective diversity
management is a critical predictor of positive employee outcomes, such as better Career Development International
performance and more job satisfaction, in western countries such as the USA (e.g. Choi Vol. 20 No. 3, 2015
and Rainey, 2010; Pitts, 2009). In Asian countries, on the other hand, relatively less ©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
attention has been given to diversity management because of the misconception that DOI 10.1108/CDI-06-2014-0082
CDI the study of diversity is less relevant, as most Asian countries are categorized as
20,3 homogeneous countries (Cho and Mor Barak, 2008).
260 However, diversity is not just a concern of western countries; Asian countries
also have to pay attention to diversity management. In Korea, a major example of a
homogeneous country with a highly male-dominated society, gender is an important
diversity characteristic, unlike in most western countries, where race and ethnicity are
considered the major diversity characteristics. Social and economic changes such as the
influx of international workers and efforts to utilize women workers as competitive
resources require that more attention be paid to diversity and diversity management.
Most existing studies have focussed on the positive or negative results of diversity
in the work group, while less attention has been given to diversity management and its
impact on employees’ attitudes and behavior. That is, how the diverse composition of
the work group contributes to work group performance has been extensively studied
(e.g. Leonard and Levine, 2006; Prieto et al., 2009), but how diversity management
impacts employees’ attitudes and performance remains unanswered. Even though
some studies (e.g. Boone and Hendriks, 2009; Choi and Rainey, 2010) have explained
how diversity management contributes to positive employees’ attitudes and behavior
as a whole – that is, for both genders – these studies have not been able to explain
whether the two gender groups perceive diversity management differently in highly
male-dominant contexts and whether the groups differ in the level of organizational
commitment when diversity management is implemented. Historically, western countries
such as the USA are described as male-dominated cultures. However, gender-based
power structures have been mitigated by social and economic changes and governmental
efforts such as increased economic participation by women and the influence of feminism
(Levant et al., 2010). In contrast, Korea’s Confucian tradition and patriarchal culture
has lasted more than 600 years and is still highly male-dominant (Park, 2006). Although
the studies conducted in western countries have shown the positive effect of diversity
management on employees, it is difficult to conclude that diversity management
practices are also effective in more homogeneous and more highly male-dominated Asian
cultures. To address these limitations of previous studies, the current study explores
the effect of diversity management on employees’ attitudes and behavior in an Asian,
male-dominated culture, S. Korea.
According to social identity theory, people recognize their identity within society
through categorizing themselves into a specific group. Salient group memberships
such as gender, nationality, and ethnicity are the criteria by which individuals classify
themselves and others (Tajfel and Turner, 1979). Social identification helps in-group
members share the same values, which lead to favoring their in-group members, and
fosters a negative attitude toward out-group members (Hewstone et al., 2002). In a
male-dominated context, male workers, members of the numerical majority group, have
higher positions and more resources than female workers because of their higher status
and power; thus, female workers, members of the numerical minority group, are
discriminated against by the numerical majority group with regard to sharing information
and resources. As a result, female workers negatively perceive intergroup differences
between the male group and the female group, and this negative perception lowers
female group members’ motivation and commitment and hinders their job performance
(Roberson and Block, 2001).
According to social exchange theory, when employees perceive fair treatment by an
organization, they may have an intention to repay their organization in beneficial ways
(Aryee et al., 2002). Diversity management designed to create greater inclusion of all
individuals into organizational networks (Gilbert et al., 1999) helps employees feel that Workplace
the organization respects and cares about them regardless of their gender, age, and diversity
ethnicity, and the employees, in turn, are more likely to be committed to the organization
and to reciprocate organizational efforts. That is, the organization’s beneficial practices for management
employees contribute to developing a relationship of trust between the employees and the
organization that creates obligations for employees to repay their organization (Settoon 261
et al., 1996), resulting in increased employee commitment and improved performance
(Magoshi and Chang, 2009).
The main purpose of this study is, first, to examine gender differences in response to
diversity management practices and in level of organizational commitment, second,
to investigate the influence of diversity management practices on organizational
commitment, and third, to examine the relationships among gender, diversity
management, and organizational commitment and job performance in a highly
male-dominated culture. The significance of this study lies in its investigation of the
effect of diversity management on employees’ attitudes and behavior and the gender
differences in the perception of diversity management and organizational commitment
in a highly male-dominated society. In addition, since Korean companies have become
more performance oriented (House et al., 2004), finding a positive relationship between
diversity management practices and job performance also suggests one way for all
organizations to increase their employees’ task performance.
The cultural context
The male-dominated culture in Korea, which is affected by the Confucian tradition of
emphasizing respect for seniority and male dominance, has strongly affected
organizational customs and cultural assumptions in the workplace and at home. In the
workplace, there is a perception among employees and employers that newly hired female
workers will quit after they get married and become pregnant (Cho and Mor Barak,
2008). Even though married and pregnant workers can keep working, this stereotypical
perception affects their activities and promotion, and traditionally most have
The Equal Employment Act was passed in 1988 to ensure equal opportunity for
everyone in hiring and promotion regardless of gender, race, age, and physical
condition. Moreover, an affirmative action policy was introduced in 2006 to give
more job opportunities to female workers and to maximize the use of female
workers in public service areas and companies. With governmental efforts and
increased numbers of female college graduates, the hiring rate of female workers
is gradually increasing. According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor of
Korea (2012), the female employment rate in companies with over 1,000 employees
was 35.6 percent in 2010 compared to 30.7 percent in 2006. And the employment
rate for females aged 15 and over was 48.4 percent in 2012 compared to
47.7 percent in 2009.
However, although governmental initiatives have been implemented and the hiring
rate of women has increased, many female workers still face a glass ceiling in being
hired into a higher position or being promoted. According to the CEO Score Daily
(2014), the possibility of a female worker holding an executive position is one out
of 1,430 (0.07 percent); in contrast, for male workers, the possibility is one out of 90
(1.11 percent). Although Korea elected its first female president in 2013, Confucian
tradition and stereotypical perceptions still frustrate female workers seeking a job and
hinder them from continuing their careers as workers.
20,3 Diversity and diversity management
Diversity management has been defined in a variety of ways, but the main focus
262 of diversity management is on ensuring that all organizational functions and processes
serve all employees effectively regardless of their gender, age, nationality, race, and
physical condition (Pitts, 2009). The current study views diversity management as
organizational practices designed to ensure fairness in organizational policies and
procedures to enable all employees to work effectively (Buttner et al., 2010).
Even though diversity management is intended to serve all organizational members
effectively, its importance and its role have been perceived differently by minority
and majority groups (Mor Barak et al., 1998). Women are more likely to favor the
organizational and diversity management practices that value differences and
encourage diverse workgroups, as they are likely to see themselves as beneficiaries of
such practices (Mor Barak et al., 1998). Women are also more attracted to companies
whose leaders effectively manage diversity, and the practices of such organizations
make them more successful in recruiting female and minority workers (Cox and Blake,
1991). Men, on the other hand, are likely to value diversity management less since
diversity management affects or changes the power structure (Cox, 1991). Grimes
(2002) says that men also benefit from diversity management practices such as family
leave and flexible work schedules; however, if these practices result in changes in the
power structure, men who are already privileged in the organization will not benefit as
much from them as do women.
Although no study has directly explained gender differences in response to
diversity management practices in a highly male-dominated context, considering the
two genders’ different perspectives as mentioned above, the perceptions of diversity
management practices can also be expected to differ. Men are likely to view
diversity management practices less favorably since they possibly threaten what men
have enjoyed, such as a higher position and more resources within the organization,
while women may view them favorably. Based on the discussion above, this study
predicts that the perception of diversity management will differ by gender:
H1. There is a relationship between gender and perception of diversity management
in a highly male-dominated context. More specifically, female workers report a
more favorable perception of diversity management practices than do male
Diversity and organizational commitment
Organizational commitment is a psychological bond that links employees to their
organization (Allen and Meyer, 1996), indicating the “relative strength of an individual’s
identification with and involvement with a particular organization” (Mowday et al., 1982,
p. 27). A committed employee wants to stay with the organization, contributes to
organizational success, and attends work regularly. Highly committed employees show
increased work performance and lower turnover intention, contributing to the
organization’s cost effectiveness by achieving high productivity and reducing the cost
for hiring new employees (Buck and Watson, 2002). Thus, having highly committed
employees is an advantage to the organization.
Numerous studies have focussed on the antecedents of organizational commitment,
such as organizational and personal characteristics that affect the level of organizational
commitment. In their meta-analysis of the antecedents of organizational commitment,
Mathieu and Zajac (1990) found that female workers are more committed to their
organization than male workers. The reason may be that female workers face more Workplace
barriers to securing a job, so once they are employed, they tend to stay with their diversity
organization. On the other hand, scholars have claimed that women’s family duties and
their having less power and a lower position in the organization hinder their commitment management
to the organization (Marsden et al., 1993). Other researchers have argued that there is no
gender difference in organizational commitment (Ahmad and Bakar, 2003). 263
Several studies conducted in highly male-dominated cultures have shown that male
workers have a higher level of organizational commitment than female workers
(e.g. Cho and Mor Barak, 2008; Park, 2011). For example, Cho and Mor Barak (2008)
showed that Korean men are more committed to the organization than women because
the cultural context, which assumes women’s primary duty is caring for family and
spouse, impedes their commitment. The reason can be found in the masculinized
organizational culture and structure. Male workers, members of the numerical majority
group, take managerial positions where they receive attention from followers and
contribute to the organization, while female workers are treated as support for male
workers and have fewer opportunities to contribute to the organizational performance
and demonstrate their abilities (Glisson and Durick, 1988).
Rather than looking only at organizational commitment, this study examines
organizational commitment in the presence of workplace diversity management in a
highly male-dominated culture and assumes that there are no gender differences.
Management can link employees’ social identification to organizational commitment
and satisfaction by providing compelling images of what the organization represents
(Born et al., 2013). Thus, organizational efforts and procedures that demonstrate
appreciation of employees’ diversity and ensure fairness to all employees in organizational
functions and processes attract loyalty and support toward the organization from both
male and female employees (Jones and Volpe, 2011). This discussion leads to our second
H2. There is no relationship between gender and perception of organizational
commitment in the presence of workplace diversity management.
Diversity, diversity management, organizational commitment, and employee
Effectively managed workplace diversity practices can create competitive advantages
at the organizational and individual levels. At the organizational level, supporting
employees’ collaboration, creating a culture that values differences, and improving
problem-solving ability can improve productivity and lead to higher profits (Cox and
Blake, 1991). At the individual level, the critical contribution of workplace diversity
management is that it decreases employees’ frustration and perception of isolation and
helps all employees feel that they are members of the organization (Gilbert and Stead,
1999). That is, diversity management increases employee integration (Gilbert et al.,
1999), contributing to employees’ being more committed to their organization (Yap
et al., 2010), and results in better job performance (Benkhoff, 1997; Lee and Miller, 1999).
Studies in a highly male-dominated context have claimed that diversity management
practices are the key to increasing employees’ organizational commitment by embracing
all the members of the organization (e.g. Lim, 2010; Magoshi and Chang, 2009). Lim (2010)
showed that in a Korean context, effectively managed workplace diversity practices are
positively linked to employees’ attitudes in terms of job satisfaction and organizational
commitment and to building a positive company image. Magoshi and Chang (2009) also
found a positive effect of workplace diversity management on employees’ commitment
CDI with both Korean and Japanese samples. Increased employee commitment is, then,
20,3 positively related to improved employee performance (Cho and Mor Barak, 2008).
264 With regard to the relationship between gender and performance, research has not led
to a consistent conclusion. Gender differences in performance can best be understood
within the contextual situation (Cho and Mor Barak, 2008). For example, Gneezy et al.
(2003) found that men perform better than women under competitive incentives, while
men and women perform equally well in noncompetitive situations. A highly competitive
situation stimulates men’s performance, but not women’s performance (Gneezy and
Rustichini, 2004). In the highly male-dominated cultural situation discussed earlier, male
workers might perform better than female workers because male workers can easily
access resources and information because of their higher position in the organization.
However, this study assumes that gender is no longer a predictor of performance in the
presence of diversity management practices in such a culture. Identification with
the organization increases all employees’ motivation and commitment and encourages
their job performance (Roberson and Block, 2001). According to social exchange theory,
as explained earlier, when employees perceive fair treatment and management support,
they can concentrate on their work; in addition, they tend to feel that they owe their
organization something in return and are more likely to repay their organization
by carrying out their formally prescribed job responsibilities (i.e. in-role behavior)
The discussion of the relationships among gender, diversity management,
organizational commitment, and job performance leads to the following hypotheses:
H3. Diversity management is positively related to organizational commitment.
H4. Diversity management and organizational commitment are predictors of
performance while gender is not related to performance.
Design of the study
Sample and sampling procedures
The target population for this study was employees working in companies with more
than 500 employees in one industrial area of Korea. First, the researcher contacted one
of six branches of the Korean Industrial Complex Corp. (KICOX) to obtain a list of
companies. Among the approximately 1,900 companies on the list, 21 companies had
more than 500 employees. The researcher contacted the human resource director in
each of the 21 companies to ask whether the company had a diversity policy and had
implemented practices and to request survey participation. All 21 companies had such
policies and initiatives for diversity management, and among them, six companies
agreed to participate in the survey. As a result, about 3,000 employees from six
companies were potential survey participants. Invitation letters were sent out via the
company’s intranet system, and 287 employees voluntarily participated in an online
survey (a return rate of 9.6 percent). Among the questionnaires obtained, 27 containing
missing values were excluded, resulting in a final sample of 260.
The sample was composed of 154 male and 106 female respondents, with 41.2 percent
ages 21-29, followed by 39.2 percent ages 30-39. Their tenure in their current work position
was one to three years (33.5 percent), followed by three to five years (23.5 percent).
About half of the participants (43.5 percent) held a bachelor’s degree and 85 respondents
(32.7 percent) held an associate bachelor’s degree. The three demographic characteristics
by gender are as follows. Of the female workers, 61 were ages 21-29 (23.5 percent)
and 29 were 30-39 (11.2 percent). About half of both female and male workers have a Workplace
bachelor’s degree (women ¼ 52, 20.0 percent; men ¼ 61, 23.5 percent). With respect
to tenure in their current position, about half of the female workers had from one to management
three years and only 13 female workers (5 percent) had over five years’ work tenure,
while 51 male workers (19.6 percent) had over five years’ tenure in their current position.
To gather data on the demographics of the participants, this study asked participants
to indicate their gender; additionally, they were asked to provide their age, tenure in
their current work position, and education level.
Workplace diversity management was measured using a six-item scale developed
by Mor Barak et al. (1998). These six items, which show good internal consistency
(α ¼ 0.86), measure employees’ perceptions of whether organizational policies and
procedures apply fairly to all employees regardless of factors such as race, sex, age, or
social background. Consistent with Mor Barak et al.’s (1998) study, the current study
also used these six items to measure employees’ perceptions of whether the diversity
management and organizational processes serve employees effectively regardless of
employees’ background, the organizational fairness factor. An example of the questions
is “Our company makes promotion and tenure decisions fairly, regardless of such
factors as the employee’s race, sex, age, or social background.” A five-point Likert scale,
ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), was used.
Organizational commitment was measured using a six-item affective commitment
scale developed by Meyer et al. (1993) to assess employees’ emotional commitment to
their organization. Affective commitment items were found to be internally consistent,
with a Cronbach’s coefficient α value of 0.82. An example question is “I would be very
happy to spend the rest of my career with this organization.” Using these six items,
participants in the current study were asked to provide their perception of affective and
emotional attachment to their organization on a five-point Likert scale, ranging from 1
(strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Employees’ job performance was measured by in-role performance, which focusses
on how successfully employees achieve their assigned duties and comply with rules
and regulations, rather than being measured in terms of extra-role performance,
because the Korean organizational culture is more market and performance oriented
(House et al., 2004). In-role performance was measured by a seven-item scale taken from
Williams and Anderson (1991). Internal consistency in terms of Cronbach’s α coefficient
values was 0.91. The respondents were asked to assess how well they complete
officially required work. An example statement is “I adequately complete assigned
duties.” In this study, the seven items were rated on a five-point Likert-type scale,
ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Descriptive statistics and instrument reliability
Cronbach’s α were used to determine instrument reliability. As shown in Table I, Cronbach’s
α for all constructs ranged from 0.87 to 0.91, which indicates the reliability of all
instruments. Also, correlation analysis showed significant correlations among the
three variables (ranging from 0.153 to 0.352). In addition, all responses (Z-values ranging
from –0.168 to 0.157 for skewness and from –0.475 to 0.429 for kurtosis) were within the
range for normal distributions.
CDI Hypothesis testing
For H1 and H2, t-tests were performed to assess the differences by gender in
266 perceptions of diversity management and in organizational commitment. As shown in
Table II, the results indicate a relationship between gender and perception of diversity
management (t ¼ −2.60, p o 0.05). That is, female workers (M ¼ 3.57, SD ¼ 0.82) were
more likely to perceive that the organizational efforts and initiatives were fairly well
conducted than were male workers (M ¼ 3.32, SD ¼ 0.70), supporting H1. Table II also
shows the results for H2. As hypothesized, the results show no perception difference
between female (M ¼ 3.47, SD ¼ 0.66) and male (M ¼ 3.42, SD ¼ 0.70) workers on
organizational commitment in the presence of workplace diversity management in a
highly male-dominated culture (t ¼ −0.57, p ¼ 0.94). Therefore, H2 is supported.
H3, which predicted the positive association of diversity management with
organizational commitment, was tested by a simple linear regression. This study used
the Durbin-Watson statistic to test for the presence of serial correlation among the
residuals. The Durbin-Watson value was 1.53, within the range of 1.5-2.5, indicating no
serial correlation. A positive correlation was found between diversity management and
organizational commitment (r ¼ 0.15) and the regression model predicted 2.4 percent of
the variance. The model was a good fit for the data (F ¼ 6.223, p o 0.05). The results
show that the relationship between the perception of workplace diversity management
and organizational commitment is positive and statistically significant (t ¼ 2.50,
p o 0.05).
H4, which predicted that diversity management and organizational commitment
(but not gender) are positively related to in-role performance, was tested by a three-step
hierarchical regression analysis. As shown in Table III, there are no signs of
multicollinearity in any of the three regression models: all variance inflatable factors
(VIF) are less than four (Miles and Shevlin, 2001) and all tolerance values are greater
than 0.20 (ranging between 0.953 and 0.976) (O’Brien, 2007).
For each analysis, the predictor variables were entered in three successive steps.
In the first step, gender was found not to be a significant predictor of in-role performance
Variables M SD α 1 2 3 4
1. Workplace diversity management 3.42 0.76 0.90 1.00 1.00 1.00
Table I. 2. Organizational commitment 3.44 0.68 0.87 0.153* 0.036
Cronbach’s α, and 3. In-role performance 3.75 0.58 0.91 0.352**
4. Gender 0.160**
Notes: α, Cronbach’s α coefficient estimates. *p o0.05; **p o0.01
Table II. Gender n Diversity management Organizational commitment
Diversity Male Mean (SD) Mean (SD)
management and Female 154
organizational Total 106 t ¼ −2.60* (df ¼ 258) t ¼ –0.57 (df ¼ 258)
commitment 260 3.32 (0.70) 3.42 (0.70)
by gender Note: *p o0.05 3.57 (0.82) 3.47 (0.66)
3.42 (0.76) 3.44 (0.68)
(t ¼ 1.721, p ¼ 0.08) and accounted for 1.1 percent of the variance. In the second step, Workplace
diversity management was entered and was a significant predictor of in-role performance diversity
(t ¼ 5.825, po0.01) with a significant increase in R2-value, to 0.116 (R2 ¼ 0.127, po0.01,
ΔR2 ¼ 0.116). This model explains 12.7 percent of the variance, adding 11.6 percent of the management
variance. In the last step, organizational commitment was added and was found to be a
significant predictor of in-role performance (t ¼ 4.868, po0.01) with a significant
increase in R2-value, 0.074 (R2 ¼ 0.201, po0.01, ΔR2 ¼ 0.074). The final model explains
approximately 20 percent of the variance.
In summary, gender (t ¼ 1.721, p ¼ 0.08) was not related to in-role performance, while
diversity management (t ¼ 5.825, po0.01) and organizational commitment (t ¼ 4.868,
po0.01) were positively related to in-role performance. Therefore, H4 was supported.
That is, employees who had a more favorable perception of diversity management
practices and were highly committed to the organization reported better performance.
Conclusions and implications
The first finding shows gender differences in response to diversity management
practices. Female workers reported more favorable perceptions of diversity
management practices than did male workers. When companies implement
diversity management initiatives, they show that the company is making an effort
to satisfy all employees’ diverse interests and needs, which results in female
employees’ positive perception of diversity management.
Previous studies show that men are more committed to the organization than are
women in a highly male-dominated culture (Cho and Mor Barak, 2008; Park, 2011).
However, this study assumed that these differences in commitment are attenuated or
removed in the presence of workplace diversity management and, as the results show,
no gender differences in response to organizational commitment were found. Moreover,
diversity management practices had a positive effect on employees’ organizational
commitment, an impressive finding. This finding is also in accord with the result of
Magoshi and Chang’s (2009) study conducted in Japan, where the culture is also
male-dominated. They found that diversity management had a positive effect on the
employees in Japan. These results show not only that the findings of the current study are
true in a Korean context, but also that diversity management practices could be effective
in other highly male-dominated Asian countries, such as Taiwan and Singapore.
Lastly, diversity management practices and organizational commitment are
revealed as predictors of in-role performance, while gender has no direct effect on
Predictor B SE Β β T Tolerance VIF R2 F ΔR2
Step 1 0.127 0.074 0.107 1.721 1.000 1.000 0.011 2.960 0.116 Table III.
Gender 0.127 18.635** 0.074 Results of
Step 2 0.061 0.070 0.051 0.872 0.974 1.026 hierarchical multiple
Gender 0.264 0.045 0.344 5.825** 0.974 1.026 0.201 21.420** regression for in-role
Diversity management performance
Step 3 0.058 0.068 0.048 0.855 0.974 1.026
Gender 0.232 0.044 0.302 5.279** 0.953 1.050
Diversity management 0.236 0.049 0.275 4.868** 0.976 1.024
Notes: VIF, variance inflation factor. Dependent variable: in-role performance. **p o0.01
CDI in-role performance in a highly male-dominated context. These results highlight the
20,3 importance of diversity management practices and organizational commitment in
increasing performance in such contexts, in agreement with the findings of previous
268 studies conducted in Korea and Japan (e.g. Lim, 2010; Magoshi and Chang, 2009) and in
western countries (Gilbert and Stead, 1999).
In sum, although the gender groups perceived diversity management practices
differently, there were no gender differences in organizational commitment within
the organizations that implemented diversity management practices and policies.
Organizational practices can affect employees’ commitment and eventually improve
performance. The findings show that all employees within an organization that has
diversity management policies and initiatives may be more committed to the organization,
which in turn increases their in-role performance in a highly male-dominated context.
The findings that diversity management practices play an important role in increasing
organizational commitment and in-role performance by helping all employees feel
valued regardless of their background should be of great interest to organizations in
a highly male-dominated culture. This study suggests that diversity management
practices are a key factor in organizational effectiveness. To yield the best results from
implementing diversity management practices, first, such practices should demonstrate
that the organization values female workers as important members of the workforce
rather than considering them as temporary workers or assistants for male workers. To do
this, organizations and management need to understand female workers; and managers
need to be trained to avoid the preconceptions that their employees may have and to
address gender differences. More importantly, organizational practices should help all
employees understand each other and feel connected by creating a work environment in
which intergroup interaction (e.g. between female and male groups) is positive and by
providing various programs that facilitate interpersonal understanding. For example,
team-building activities allow employees to see the value of diverse groups as team
members share their perspectives and opinions and to be more creative by encouraging
team members’ potential. Team-building activities can improve interpersonal knowledge
and communication skills between the gender groups. Leaders also should remember that
they are the key players who ensure the successful applications of diversity management
practices in the organization. Leaders should give more opportunities to female
workers to demonstrate their abilities for organizational development and show
their male workers that female workers are appreciated as employees. In her study
about how to increase female workers’ effectiveness as leaders in a masculinized
context, Yoder (2001) insisted that when organizations help female workers increase
their ability by providing them training and openly commend female workers
on their expertise and performances, male workers recognize female workers’ values and
contributions to the organization. Then, as female workers’ effectiveness as leaders
increases, performance and collaboration between female and male workers also increase.
It is also important to note that the average score on the perception of diversity
management is 3.42. This score indicates that beyond gender differences, most employees
see the importance and positive facets of diversity management; in turn, employees, even in
a highly male-dominated context, favor diversity management practices. To maintain or
increase all employees’ positive perception of diversity management, organizations should
explain the objective of the diversity management practices and specify how diversity
management initiatives contribute to the organization and to the employees as well.
The results of the study also contribute to the discourse on the importance of Workplace
organizational commitment by supporting previous findings that organizational diversity
commitment is an important predictor of in-role performance. Studies have shown that
lower organizational commitment is potentially related to lower productivity as well as management
turnover or turnover intention (DeConinck and Bachmann, 2011). Thus, having highly
committed employees is imperative for all organizations. Female workers tend to have 269
a lower level of organizational commitment than male workers (Cho and Mor Barak,
2008); however, the study shows no gender differences in organizational commitment
when diversity management practices have been implemented. Organizations should
note the result that diversity management practices can be effective in increasing both
female and male employees’ organizational commitment, resulting in achieving better
performance (Cox and Blake, 1991). To increase employees’ organizational commitment,
organizations need to appreciate employees’ differences and increase transparency in
the decision making, promotion, performance assessment, and resource allocation
processes. Especially for female workers, organizations need to utilize a mentor-up
program, which pairs senior male executives with junior female workers, as a way
to increase understanding of female workers and to reduce female workers’ high
turnover rate by supporting their career development and giving explicit feedback
about what values the female workers have and what they contribute to the organization
(Coughlin et al., 2011).
Considering the positive effects of diversity management practices on employees
in a highly male-dominated culture, this study suggests that companies need to
establish diversity management practices and initiatives and develop a supportive
atmosphere that allows all employees to benefit from diversity practices. Every
company has a different organizational culture and business situation and is
different in terms of size and employee demographics. To be effective, organizations
need to identify employees’ needs, the organizational culture, and the business
challenges the organizations currently face; through this comprehensive analysis of
the current situation, the organization will be able to develop well-defined diversity
management practices that address organizational needs and employees’ interests
Limitations and implications for future research
The first limitation of this study is related to the common method error variance
that exists when independent variables and dependent variables are assessed by the
same respondents. In this study, employees provided their perception of diversity
management and organizational commitment, and also assessed their performance.
Thus, this performance measurement can be criticized in terms of objectivity.
To obtain objectivity, managers should evaluate their employees’ performances.
Even though this study explored the effect of diversity management practices in a highly
male-dominated culture, a cross-sectional survey is not enough to understand how
employees’ perceptions and attitudes change over time following the implementation of
diversity practices. Another suggestion for future study is to conduct a paper-based
survey and an in-depth examination that includes depth interviews with employees
and their managers.
This study is also limited by the sampling approach and the small sample size.
The purposive sampling approach limits the generalizability of the results and the
sample may not be large enough to represent most organizations and employees.
The participants in this study were employees working in companies with more than
CDI 500 employees. Employees who are working in small-to-medium sized companies
20,3 (SMEs) may have different perceptions of diversity management practices and
organizational commitment. Future studies should include the voices of employees
270 from various industrial areas and SMEs and an expanded sample size. Finally, this
study followed rigorous translation-back translation procedures to obtain clarity of the
instruments. However, the instruments may not be suitable for different cultural and
organizational situations. Another direction for future study is to use instruments
developed in highly male-dominated cultures such as Korea and Japan to best capture
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Ung Hee Lee can be contacted at: [email protected]
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